When you have diabetes, nutrition is crucial in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
Although it can be challenging to come up with well balanced diabetic meals, you should still be able to
enjoy a wide variety of foods, without eliminating too many of your
Choosing the right food is important for diabetics, as it can help to control blood sugar
levels, regulate blood pressure, and manage blood fats such as cholesterol and
Many people need to lose weight to reduce their chances of a stroke or heart disease,
when they are diagnosed with diabetes, and nutrition plays a large part in
There is a huge amount of
information available about diabetes nutrition; check out menu ideas on websites or pick up a diabetic
cooking magazine to get some inspiration.
Ten tips for well balanced diabetic
- When you’re putting together your diabetic meal plan, make sure you eat three regular
meals a day, and be sure not to skip breakfast.
- Try to include beans and
lentils in your diet. These are great foods for diabetics as they control blood sugar levels and
- Each meal should include a starchy carbohydrate such as bread, pasta, rice or
cereal. These are absorbed slowly and do not affect blood sugar dramatically.
- Try to reduce the saturated fat in your diet by limiting the butter, cheese and
processed foods you eat.
- Unsaturated fats such as olive or rapeseed oils are healthier
alternatives. Check out tomato and vegetable based sauces rather than opting for a creamy
fish is a good food for diabetics as it is high in the polyunsaturated fat omega
3. Try to include two portions a week of mackerel, sardines, salmon or pilchards in your diabetic meal
your alcohol intake to two units per day for women and three units per day for
men. Drinking less than this is recommended, particularly if you are trying to lose weight.
Diabetics should avoid drinking alcohol on an empty stomach.
- Reduce your salt intake to less than six grams per
day. Check out the labels on any processed food you buy. You might be surprised by the high
- Although you do not need to cut out sugar altogether, you
should look for foods with ‘no added
sugar’. If you want to drink fizzy drinks you should opt for the low sugar
- There are very few benefits
to special foods for diabetics. Generally they have the same effect on your blood sugar as regular foods, they
may have a laxative effect, and they are expensive. The exception may be diabetic alternatives to very sugary
foods such as diabetic
chocolates, which may be worth investigating if you have a sweet tooth.
Gestational diabetes nutrition
Some pregnant women suffer from a temporary form of diabetes caused by pregnancy hormones
that cause insulin resistance. This is more common in older mums and is known as gestational diabetes.
Nutrition is crucial in controlling gestational diabetes, and most women will see a dietician to develop a
diabetic meal plan when they are first diagnosed.
In many ways a meal plan for a
gestational diabetic is similar to a regular diabetic meal plan, but it can be quite different to the recommended
diet for other expectant mothers. For example, women with gestational diabetes should only drink two glasses of
milk per day, and need to find an alternative source of calcium to supplement this. They should also limit their
intake of simple sugars, which may involve eliminating fruit juices, soda, flavoured teas and desserts from their
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